Undertaking a Transformation at Scale, with Significant Progress: Maersk CEO Soren Skou

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Capital Markets Day at the Opera House in Copenhagen (Image Courtesy: Maersk)

One year in to its new strategy, A.P. Moller – Maersk has leapt substantially in its transformation, moving from a conglomerate to a focused and integrated global container logistics company. The acquisition of Hamburg Süd has been completed and integration is progressing, and the new Maersk is digitising and transforming to improve customer experience, cost and asset productivity, and developing new revenue sources, the company said at the Capital Markets Day held at the Royal Danish Opera House on Tuesday.

There have been USD 14 billion in M & A transactions under the new strategy, and each has been strategically important and financially attractive. The oil and oil-related businesses are being divested to bring greater focus on container logistics and the underlying business is improving, though still not satisfactory. 2017 was a challenging year with unsatisfactory performance, yet improvements have been demonstrated in revenue, EBITDA and ROIC, Maersk said.

“We are undertaking a transformation at scale, with significant progress one year in,” CEO Søren Skou told the more than 200 investors, analysts, bankers and journalists who gathered at the landmark building by Copenhagen Harbour. “Across our businesses, we will continue to pull all levers to restore performance and bring us forward.”

Energy Divestments

In the Energy division, viable structural solutions have been announced for two of the businesses, Maersk Oil and Maersk Tankers, realising substantial value of USD 9.3 billion and exceeding analyst consensus. A.P. Moller – Maersk is committed to distribute proceeds from the Energy separations to shareholders, subject to maintaining investment grade. Structural solutions for Maersk Drilling and Maersk Supply Service are to be defined before the end of 2018.

“There have been two significant achievements in 2017 in the separation of the Energy businesses,” said Claus V. Hemmingsen, Vice CEO and CEO of the Energy division. “We are aiming for higher than expected Energy proceeds and the transactions we have done, and those that we are pursuing, contribute to the focusing of the future A.P. Moller – Maersk as the global integrator of container logistics.”

Future Growth

The remaking of Maersk, led by the expanded Executive Board, will take 3-5 years, repositioning the company for future growth and returns in global container logistics. It will offer simpler end-to-end products and services, seamless customer engagement and a superior delivery network.

Integrating the businesses is already unlocking value, supporting efficiency through the entire value. Examples include increased terminal utilisation, improved inland services, optimised hub operations, joint production planning between Maersk Line and Maersk Container Industry, and cross-selling across the brands, the company said.

Maersk said that the acquisition of Hamburg Süd, which has historically delivered strong results, further strengthens the offering and cost competitiveness, and there have already been some early successes. The transition has been smooth with no interruptions, synergy realisation is on track and there is a continued Hamburg Süd presence in markets impacted by regulatory requirements.

“There are multiple initiatives to improve customer experience, some of them for all customers and some catering to specific segments, many of them in the digital space. These include the digital freight forwarder Twill, removing complexity from the process; Remote Container Management, improving ability to trade perishable goods; and the global trade digitisation joint venture with IBM, bringing secure and instant data visibility,” the company stated.

Sea News, February 23